The Deal Mommy

Hotel Status Matters Less for Families. Here’s Why.

UPDATE: My buddy Ed over at Pizza in Motion has provided a counterpoint.

My rebuttal is at the bottom of the post.

Greetings from Chicago!  I’m here with Deal Girl on a whirlwind STEM/STEAM weekend. More on that later. I’m typing this post from the sofa at the Hyatt Place Downtown/The Loop while Deal Girl sleeps. Being here reminds me that hotel status matters less when you travel as a family.

The Hyatt Place Chicago Downtown/The Loop reminds me why hotel status matters less than it used to.

Imagine me sitting on the couch. Image via Hyatt.

Let me explain.

The layout of this room includes a partition that shades the beds from the sofa. I’ve been up for over an hour sipping coffee and catching up and Deal Girl is still sleeping like a rock. Any of you parents out there know what a gift this is. In most standard hotel rooms if you turn on a light, the entire family awakens. I’ve heard many tales of parents camping out in the bathroom so the kids won’t wake up. 

Hyatt Place, Residence Inn, and the like take the bathroom campout out of the equation. I’ve changed my view of what makes a hotel room luxurious over the years. Now space matters as much or more as traditional amenities. Only a hotel that has a unique feature such as a robot valet tips the scales over the ability to be awake while the Deal Kids sleep.


Which brings me back to hotel status.

Status doesn’t matter at all at Hyatt Place. Sure, you might get a view or a slightly larger room, but the basic experience will be the same whether you are a Globalist or bought the room on Priceline. You’ll still get free breakfast and plenty of room to spread out.

For this weekend I considered this Hyatt Place at 12,000 points a night and the nearby Hyatt Regency at 15,000 points. I could have had a Globalist register me as a guest of honor. However, the entire city is hosting a convention this weekend so it’s likely I would not have earned an upgrade.

So I had to compare the experience in a standard Hyatt Regency room with a club to the Hyatt Place. The extra 3,000 points would have basically gotten us evening snacks. However, we’re in Chicago, one of the great food cities on earth. As Deal Girl put it, it’s like the world’s best state fair at every meal. Even a hot dog is art. 

Clark Street Dogs is on another level. Great food is an example of why hotel status doesn't matter.

Clark Street Dogs is on another level.

Even if you don’t want to leave the hotel, UBEREats brings the best of Chicago to your door. Last night we crashed hard after two solid museum days. We ordered Mart Anthony’s for delivery and for under $30 enjoyed some of the best Italian food we’ve ever tasted. Hmmm…warmed over club chicken tenders or lasagna and meatballs? No contest. 

And that’s when you can get a room.

Joe and Trevor recently hosted me on the Saverocity podcast. One running theme of the conversation was how difficult it was to find family sized rooms in South America. We ran straight into occupancy limits everywhere we visited.

So the next time you read about how it’s “only” sixty nights of choosing a specific brand to get amazing benefits? Make sure you remember to do your own math. What makes hotel status matter is what makes it matter to you. 

Which hotel status has mattered to me?

I completed the Marriott Platinum Challenge in March. That status has had major benefits…on United Airlines. I’ve barely used it at Marriott or Starwood. But on United? I’ve flown seven flights and received upgrades on three. One of those upgrades was on a transcontinental red-eye. On the others I received economy plus. This was a game changer flying to and from Hawaii. 

In other words, $467 for the Platinum Challenge was extremely well spent. 

I’d love to hear your hotel status strategy for 2018 in the comments. 

The Deal Mommy is a proud member of the Saverocity network. 

Rebuttal: I think Ed sunk his own argument. 2 kids under 10 in a separate room with any risk that they don’t connect? No way. Ed replied that his family often goes one kid and one adult per room to which I also reply NO WAY. 

Camp Mom 2017 planning: Casa Chorizo

The kitchen in our three bedroom Buenos Aires “sausage house” costing $100/night. Image via San Telmo Loft.

The entry of AirBnb and EVR into the market changed the equation. The financial argument Ed uses just make no sense anymore. Break free of the chain chains and you’ll have a better experience for less money.

An example: 2nd room at 2 X points vs. 3 bedroom historic house at $100/night in Buenos Aires?Say it with me: No. Brainer. 

Ed closed by saying my argument was too broad and that status has benefit for some families.  I suppose I can concede that point. However, I find the need to paint in such bold strokes because I am a solo artist. Points and status are the currency in which points bloggers trade. I’m just asking you to taste the Kool-Aid before you drink it. 


16 thoughts on “Hotel Status Matters Less for Families. Here’s Why.

  1. Jvlites

    Lol. We raised our kids from birth without them going to sleep in total darkness and silence. Results: they can sleep with all the lights in the room on and with a tv on. If you put the kids to sleep in an isolation chamber of total darkness and silence that is what they acclimate to. Makes it really bad for future travel.

    Word of advise to new parents do not let babies get use to no noise and no light. Our friends were always in awe of our babies sleeping ability but it’s not a trick.

    My BIL is a pediatrician and he gave us his blessing on our way of doing things, each do their own of course.

    Always enjoy your posts.

  2. italdesign

    Interesting perspective. I stayed at HR Chicago last weekend where the room was decisively smaller, so good choice.

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  4. Lee @ BaldThoughts

    I tend to believe in the value of loyalty and status based on getting upgraded rooms, late check-out/early check-in, and, of course, earning extra points towards the next free stay.  Some benefits don’t matter at lower-end properties where there’s not an opportunity for an upgrade.  My only status for hotels (except Kimpton) is whatever I earn from the credit card… I don’t need top-tier status, only something that gives me an edge for some extra benefits.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      My opinion has definitely evolved as the program requirements have risen. At 25 Hyatt Diamond made sense, but at 60? No way. Same with the difference between a 9 stay Marriott/SPG Challenge and the 75 night requirement.

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  6. Andy Shuman

    I gotta say, even as a solo traveler I often forgo points and book a vacation property (not just Airbnb) about 60% of the time. It can get tricky sometimes (you don’t know the quality of the bed, noise level, etc), but I don’t value anything, including food and service, as highly as space. For families, unless you have a high probability of a suite upgrade, it really changes the equation, IMHO.

    Agree on Hyatt Place, though. Love the layout, and hot breakfast is nothing to sneeze at. Given a choice between HR and the Place, I’d also pick the Place.

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